We touch down in Kuta Bali a few hours later.
The airport in Kuta is situated at the end of a massive beach and if you look carefully on approach, you can see surfers out in the break.
The Kuta airport, like Phuket airport, is quite small and its a quick trip from the plane to the customs desks.
As we're standing in line for customs, we're reminded just how strict the anti-drug rules in Indonesia are as theres a sign next to the customs lines that reads:
DEATH PENTALTY for bringing drugs into Bali!
We clear customs and get to baggage claim rather quickly and past the row of literally 15 money changers all shouting desperately for you to exchange cash with them and out into the sea of cab drivers clambering for your business.
We hop a cab into town to Poppies Lane 2 (just down from Poppies Lane 1). Tossing our bags on our backs we start the search for a homestay in town. We run across a couple posh places asking way more than we want to pay and starting to cook in the heat, wander down the road to look for more when a guy waves us over asking us if we're looking for a homestay. Now usually I try not to fall in for this because generally you get scammed in one way or another but Niki and I exchange glances and decide why not.
We follow this guy down a long deserted back lane that starts to take us pretty far from the main road. At this point I'm starting to feel a little sketchy but we've come this far, so why not right.
Just as I think we've gone too far, we enter the courtyard of this great looking little place. Palm trees and lush gardens surround a little hindu shrine beside the entrance. Running around below it are three puppies and there tiny parents. Across from us is a huge rabbit in a little cage.
A young woman who must be the daughter of the owners comes out and greets us and leads us out back to the rooms. We cross a bridge over a little fish pond with a turtle in it and walk past a nice little pool, up some stairs and onto a balcony over looking the courtyard. She lets us into a room thats probably the biggest we've stayed in. The bathroom is almost as large as the main room!
At this point I'm figuring we've come all this way for something we clearly can't afford when she tells us that its 150,000 Rp a night (about $15), breakfast included.
We drop our bags and settle into what will be our home for the next few nights.
After getting changed we decide to get our bearings and find the beach. We wander back out onto Poppies 2 and head in the direction we think is the beach.
Unlike Thailand and Laos, the vendors in Kuta are desperate for your business and as you wander by every litte shop and stall the owners call out to you to come in and take a look. Women are standing at corners with fliers calling out "Hello, massage?" as they compete for your business.
We wander a litte further and as it turns out we were only about 5 minutes from the beach. We turn the corner and get to the next order of business, our first beer in a new location.
We find a little road side stall and grab some food and a beer. Beers in Indonesia are a little more than Laos and Thailand, with a large beer going for about 25 or 30,000rp.
After lunch we walk across the road to check out the beach.
Kuta beach is massive and the break amazing. The waves are filled with surfers and as you walk down the beach there are locals set up about every 15 feet with a couple chairs, a cooler full of beer and about 5 surfboards. These guys sell beers cheap, offer you chairs and give suf lessons; 2 hours for about 100,000rp ($10).
We wander down the beach and not 10 mins goes by before Niki sees some locals she remembers from last year. We wander up and chat with them for a bit, have a couple beers and Niki gets re-aquainted.
We finish our beers and head back to our room to get cleaned up for dinner.
We get tasty meal at a restaurant thats down a long alley. One entire side of the alley is sculpted to look like a massive wave with a surfboard embedded in it for people to climb up onto to get their picture (yes I did).
We enjoy some local food and watch a live reggae band before calling it a night and crashing out after a long day traveling.
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